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Drought Planning

National Weather Service Drought Monitor for TN

As drought conditions continue, voluntary conservation measures will become even more critical. Just cutting back on typical warm weather activities such as watering lawns and plants, filling swimming pools and washing cars can make a difference. Voluntary efforts exercised at this stage of the threat may prevent the need to mandate water-conservation practices in the near future. There are simple things Tennesseans can do to conserve water, including:

  • Avoid washing your car at home with a hose – seek out waterless car washes or commercial car wash systems that recycle water
  • Take shorter showers
  • Fix all leaky plumbing fixtures, including outdoor hoses
  • Install sink faucets with aerators, motion sensors, or automatic shut-offs
  • Install low-flow shower heads
  • Run washing machines and dishwashers only with full loads
  • Install low-flush toilets, or put a one-liter water bottle in the toilet tank
  • Buy appliances with water conservation features
  • Avoid watering lawns. If you do, water lawns and gardens sparingly in the morning or evening to prevent excessive evaporation
  • Landscape with native plants, shrubs and trees – they are adapted to periods of drought and may require less water than non-native ornamentals
  • Minimize use of kitchen sink garbage disposal units
  • Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants
  • Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks

Guidance for Developing Community Water System Drought Management Plans

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has developed a guidance document to provide community water systems with the necessary elements of a drought management plan. This guide is designed to promote and increase preparedness so that a drought’s adverse impacts would be mitigated. The guidance includes suggested drought management planning steps.

Click here to view Guidance for Developing Community Water System Drought Management Plans

Drought Management Plan
The department has also released an updated Drought Management Plan reflecting our plan for water management during extended periods of below average rainfall and streamflow as a result of drought. One of our departmental goals is to maximize the ability of our water resources to support all of its uses. This can be particularly challenging in the time of drought. However, history has shown that with effective management, proper planning and responsiveness, the impacts of a drought can be minimized.

This plan is an update to a drought management plan released in 1987. Its purpose is to outline TDEC’s role during a drought, to facilitate planning, and to provide a framework for action and cooperation in water resources management among the many local, state, and federal agencies with drought-related responsibilities. The plan, however, represents the state’s plan on drought management, since we serve as the lead state agency on drinking water and water quality issues. This plan outlines the resources that other state, federal and local entities can provide and the ways in which we can work together to lessen the impacts of a drought.

Click here to view the Drought Management Plan (updated February 2010).

External Resources
National Weather Service Drought Monitor for Tennessee

EPA on drought issues

Green Home Makeover: Water Conservation